Jhonny Peralta's contract should give MLB pause to think.
Peralta receiving $53 million from any team in MLB is a bad sign, especially when it comes from one of the marquee franchises in baseball. It pays to use PEDs in baseball. Even if you get caught, teams will still be willing to pay millions if the numbers are good.
MLB and commissioner Bud Selig spent a lot of time investigating the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Florida. The investigation led to the suspension of 13 players listed in this report by Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown, including Peralta, who acknowledged taking PEDs. All 13 players received 50-game suspensions that they started serving immediately in order to complete them by the end of last season.
Alex Rodriguez was also charged in this investigation and was given a 211-game suspension, something that he is still in the process of fighting with baseball.
The 31-year-old Peralta is an average player who has had two above-average seasons recently in 2011 and 2013. It begs the question of when Peralta started using and if his improved numbers are solely driven by using PEDs.
In baseball's quest to wrap up the Biogenesis investigation in a neat bow, it allowed players who served their 50-game suspensions last season to come back in time for the playoffs. Peralta came back for the Detroit Tigers and was one of their best hitters, hitting a combined .333 in the playoffs.
Imagine if Peralta had managed to propel the Tigers to a World Series victory after serving a 50-game suspension. It would have only managed to further embarrass baseball when the focus should be on the greatness of the sport.
Peralta's signing sends a bad signal to the rest of baseball. Cheat, be momentarily embarrassed but hit it rich when you come back. The Cardinals should want no part of adding Peralta to their young locker room. Instead, they are welcoming him with open arms.
Until baseball understands that they need to start hitting the players where it really hurts, in the wallet, nothing is going to change. Players need to face stiffer suspensions, face postseason bans and teams should be allowed to opt-out of contracts with players who are suspended.
Players who are suspended should also have limits on the length of contract and amount of money that a player can make after receiving a suspension from baseball. Those may sound too harsh, but until the suspensions become real deterrents, players are still going to find ways to cheat, because the benefits still outweigh the negatives.
Cheating still pays. It's the only message that you can see from Peralta's contract. One that other players and fans can easily see.